Pigs can’t fly is the story of a young boy who is torn by reality and his family’s efforts to suppress his true sexuality. His internal conflict eventually leads him to self destruction, when his beloved sari is torn into pieces. Because of the gender social norms of his family, he is forced to transition form the beautiful, loving world of the girls to the harsh, unforgiving world of the boys. In Shyam Selvadurai’s Pigs can’t fly, the gender social norms imposed upon Arjie causes turmoil within him, and ultimately destroys him morally.
His turmoil is caused by his mother’s rejection of him, his cousin Her Fatness’s weakening of his influence amongst the girls, his feelings of not belonging with the boys, and his forced transition to the world of the boys. In Pigs can’t fly, Amma rejects Arjie by not letting him watch her change and play with her jewelry, which ultimately torments him. Arjie had always been used to being present while his mother got ready for spend-the-day. He always enjoyed watching her drape her sari, and playing with her jewelry which he found so beautiful.
After speaking with Arjie’s father, Amma realizes that if Arjie turns out “funny”, she will be blamed. She sets out to correct Arjie and forever destroys their relationship in the process. “I crept quietly to my bedroom, sat down on the edge of my bed, and stared at my feet for a long time. It was clear to me I had done something wrong, but what it was I couldn’t comprehend. I thought of what my father said about turning out “funny”. ” (355) This quotation explains Arjie’s feeling of rejection from his mother. She cares and looks after him for his entire life, and then she simply dismisses him like that.
Intelligence can be interpreted in many different ways, whether it is in school, work, or at home. Cleverness can be used to solve a problem or a crisis. Mai Vo-Dinh, in her story “The fly” uses a young boy to represent perspicacity. The young boy uses that perspicacity to get out of a crisis. He utilizes this intelligence to trick a rich man which results in resolving his ...
Arjie clearly doesn’t comprehend what he had done wrong. He had overheard his parents arguing about him the night before, so he knows only to blame himself. Ultimately, his blaming of himself leads him to turmoil, and his lowering of self worth. Later on after several minutes of sobbing in his room, Arjie overhears his mother speaking and thinks by himself. “ As I listened to the sound of her voice, I realized something had changed forever between us. ” (355) Arjie realizes that the precious bond he shares with his mother has forever been broken.
His changing from being a child to being an adult makes him realize the harsh realities of life, rejection being one of them. When Amma shuts the door at Arjie’s face when he tries to come in her room, she destroys a ritual that was sacred to him and torments him. Arjie then starts to truly despise his mother. Her Fatness causes Arjie turmoil by weakening his influence and essentially causes him to lose his position of power. Her Fatness is one of the cousins who was given that that nickname because of her corpulent nature. Upon her arrival, she tries to take away Arjie’s position as leader of the girls.
She ultimately succeeds at doing so when she diverts everyone’s attention to her new dolls. “Her Fatness turned to the other cousins and asked them if they wanted to hold the dolls for a moment. They nodded eagerly, and the dolls passed from hand to hand. I moved closer to get a better look. My gaze involuntarily rested on Her Fatness, and she gave me a smug look. ” (349) In this quotation, Her Fatness gets everyone’s attention by showing off the dolls, and throws in a smug look at Arjie in the process. As leader of the girls, Arjie gets to dress up as the bride, which is what truly makes him happy.
Her Fatness seems to toy with Arjie and gets some kind of pleasure out of it. She hides his sari and claims to have never seen it. “Her Fatness slipped into the room. I became aware of her presence and turned. But too late. She took the sari from the shelf where she had hidden it and ran out the door. ” The society Arjie lives in is a very narrow minded one, and homesexuality is not tolerated. When Arjie dresses up as a bride, his family feels he might turn out “funny”. Her Fatness uses that to her advantage and threatens arjie with it. Also, the sari is sacred to Arjie, so when Her Fatness steals it from him, she is truly torturing him.
Boy-girl relationships are all about young love, having fun with the opposite sex and learning how to deal with relationships. It is usually harmless and it is natural. These relationships are usually based on looks, interests and social reputation. But stereo-typing becomes part of it, outsiders tend to condemn them based on external appearances. An example of this would be the argument that ...
Arjie’s loss of power amongst the girls as well as Her Fatness’ torturing him contributes to his turmoil, and ends up destroying him. Arjie is tormented by the thought of playing cricket with his brother, because he feels he doesn’t belong. The world of the boys is very different than the world of the girls, it is unforgiving and competitive. The other boys have no patience for Arjie and immediately reject him. The truth is, Arjie is simply can not fit in with other boys, because of his personality. “Why do I have to play with the boys? ” “Why? ” Amma said. “Because the sky is so high and pigs can’t fly, that’s why. (357) Amma is unable to give Arjie a reason for which he has to play with the boys. As per her response, it is evident that what she is doing to Arjie is hurting her more than it is hurting him. She can not provide him with a real response because she doesn’t know how to justify her actions to him. The social gender norms set in place by the society they live in are what forces her to these actions, and essentially explain the sense of the title of the story. She knows that he will not enjoy playing with the boys, and this is what torments him. “ If you ever come near the field again, you’ll be sorry. “Don’t worry,” I replied tartly. “I never will. ” And with that, I forever closed any possibility of entering the boys’ world again. ” (363) Arjie is rejected by the boys as well as his mother. He chooses to stand up for himself when even his brother denies him his rights, and he gets hated for him. His brother ends up hating him. The reason why the story is in a sense a tragedy is not only because Arjie’s morale is destroyed, but because he never seems to do anything wrong, but trouble always seems to come his way. Arjie’s transition from the world of the girls to the world of the boys is very harmful to him as a person.
He is not used to the setting he is immediately immersed into. He is hated and rejected by the boys, and his position of power amongst the girls is lost because of Her Fatness. He has nothing left. In the last scene of the story, Arjie is sitting alone on the sand and says: “Now both the beach and the sea, one so familiar, were like an unknown country into which I had journeyed by chance. ” (371) This quote represents how he is no longer welcome to any world, he doesn’t belong anywhere. He is a victim of his own society, because of the standards he is set to follow.
Teachers are in a unique position to cultivate children’s cross gender interactions and friendships. By intentionally planning and supporting certain experiences, educators can encourage children to build a social world characterized by meaningful relationships with peers of both sexes. To purposely increase engagement and interactions between boys and girls, teachers must tune in to the social ...
To conclude, Arjie is a tragic character who is destroyed by the norms of his society as well as his own family. The gender social norms imposed upon Arjie causes turmoil within him, and ultimately destroys him morally. His turmoil is caused by his mother’s rejecting him, Her Fatness’s weakening of his influence amongst the girls by diverting the attention away from him, his not belonging in the world of the boys, and his forced transition from bride bride to cricket. As a whole, the norms set by the society Arjie lives in has caused him to transition to an unfamiliar world, which eventually leads to his self destruction. 1316 words